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Countdown With Keith Olbermann

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  MSNBC    Countdown With Keith Olbermann    News/Business. Interviews with top  
   newsmakers; countdown of the day's top news stories.  

    August 11, 2009
    1:00 - 2:00am EDT  

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wingnuts, let's be specific, they don't have any intention of fixing health care in this country. they just want to destroy what's going on right now. they're out there, if you read the messages, their job is to shout down, disrupt, rock and roll, they got every word, i mean you're seeing the pictures, this is all planned behavior to scream and yell. they want to bring it dwoon. isn't that the goal of most of the people coming to these meetings? >> i don't know, and that's the problem. these used to be really important journalistic exercises, going to the town hall meetings in august. you did get a feeling of what congressmen and women are hearing in their districts. how much of this is manufactured and how much of it is authentic. it's hard for lawmakers to tell. because they're going home and trying to spend a month. they're looking at the same polls we are and trying to figure out where exactly are our constituents. and i don't think that they know. and now basically, i think the media rewards the absurd. so people who can shout down, who can scream at a congressman
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or do something to disrupt, they know people can get on youtube, and therefore, they can make a big show of it and there's a huge incentive to do that. and now you see democrats fighting back, to do the same thing to counter-act that. >> this is the newest, hottest summer reality show for a lot of political insiders to watch. what's interesting is that i think the white house and its organizing arm, the dnc and organizing for america, they were a little slow to realize this, that their organizers at their core, they're going to try to pack the halls themselves, they're sending out emails and organizing. i think the picture will be interesting to see the next round of town halls, if they find that they cannot pack the room before the other side does. that's the thing to watch. >> there's a lot of organizing going on out there, involved with the people that did swift-boating against john kerry. and a lot of money involved in the health care industry. one man raising $20 million for spending in this industry. clearly there's a lot of grassroots as well. thank you, jim vandehei. the very successful politico. >> and lynn sweet. from the "chicago sun-times."
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right now, it's time for the ed show, with ed schultz. >> i'm ed schultz. this is "the ed show." good evening, americans, live from 30 rock in new york, it's "the ed show" on msnbc, good to be back after a week's vacation. tonight, it's an uprising, angry old white folks are storming into town halls all across america, spewing lies about health care reform. "countdown" with keith olbermann starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? sarah palin urges restraint by people like sarah palin. my parents or my baby with down syndrome will have to stand in front of obama's death panel. that was friday. this is today. we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be used to leading to intimidation or harassment. yeah, that sled dog train has already pulled out of the station, missy. and though on the crazy death panel claim, palin is bailing, glenn beck says, i think it's true. and newt gingrich goes right after the end of the peer with him. >> you're asking us to trust turning power over to the
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government when there clearly are people in america who believe in establishing euthanasia, incluing selective standards. >> lawrence o'donnell on a paranoia too far. and the decreasing benefits of pursuing bipartisanship with people who are going to try to kill what you want to share with them. drop in the bucket, the attorney general's torture prosecution as limited as it can get. not the torturers, not their bosses, not the politicians, not their enablers, just anybody who went beyond what they were told was legal even if it sure wasn't legal. sanford and sunny vacations, the governor wanted employees to use both sides of a post-it before throwing it away. have the states paid his trip out of town? his nonhiking the appalachian trail trips. and rage without reason, do not condemn most of these people, they know not what they do. these people, they know.
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the incitement to violence to the manipulators of the far right and the one document from which they preach and try to terrify. tonight, a special comment. all that and more now on countdown. good evening from new york. here's the press of which the blatant lies of the right have twisted themselves and their yelling brigades. they want to use civility to attack death panels. they would rather commit a form of real life de facto suicide than accept the reality that euthanasia is not part of health care reform. and the poster figure for opposing socialist health care is now asking that his health care be paid by others. our story tonight, the spiral of the information and refusal to believe the truth rather than subscribe to the absurd continues to climb upwards. after kicking off the weekend weaponizing a new lie about health care, which about more in a moment, that mr. obama wants death panels to force euthanasia. former governor palin of alaska
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has thrown it into reverse. "we must stick to a discussion of the issues and not get sidetracked by tactics that can be accused of leading to intimidation or harassment." such tactics disable our nation's civil discourse. for whose benefit? which we need now more than ever to make elected officials to hear what we are saying. but the palin partial pullback comes too late. house republican leader john boehner hearing only friday's shriek, not sunday's asterisk as did other republican insurance agents. >> we know people have said routinely, we're going to have to make decisions, you're going to have to decide. communal standards historically is a very dangerous concept. >> it's not in the bill. >> but the bill's 1,000 pages of setting up mechanisms, that sets up 45 different agencies, all sorts of panels. you're asking us to trust turning power over to the government when there clearly are people in america who believe in establishing euthanasia, including selective
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standards. >> republican congressman jack kingston calls the death panels quote, a scare tactic. a gross and even cruel distortion. factcheck.org revealing the source of it, pharmaceutical betsy mccoy who also created a lie that it would tell your doctors what to do, which you may have noticed has not happened. but our next suggestion believes the republicans believe this, laughter is the best medicine. meet kenneth, a tea partiers who claims he was injured at a missouri town hall last thursday. the st. louis post dispatcher reports that he's out of work, has no health insurance, is now
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seeking donations to cover his health care. a pleasure to be joined here at the desk by msnbc political analyst lawrence o'donnell, contributor at "huffington post." good evening, sir. >> good to be here, keith. >> page 442 of the stimulus, now it's 425 of the health care reform act which quotes now an explanation by the practitioner of the continuum of end of life services. now medicare is going to cover that conversation with the doctor about hospice care, living wills, things like that, even if they're not immediate concerns, not on the death bed. is there any way that john boehner could've known that mccoy would've twisted something so good into something so bad. >> she's add a career of attacking any kind of reform in health care. she did it when hillary clinton's plan was moving. boehner is not known as one of
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the better fact checkers, so pulling one over on him isn't hard. keith, i think they're in a difficult area here. the united states of america knows that there is a real issue here. you and i have both this year dealt with end of life issues involving parents. this is something every family in the country goes through at some point in time. this party, this republican party has an excessive interest in end of life as they showed with terry schiavo, now they're back selling something in the same territory, it is completely fraudulent, it means nothing to newt gingrich when george stephanopoulos says it's not in the bill. he keeps talking. >> somebody thought it at some point so i can be opposed to it and make you afraid of it. so palin, boehner, and gingrich basically lying, deceiving americans into blocking a new bill that will help everybody who doesn't have money and insurance stocks. >> you know, there's no kind of legislation that's easier to lie about than health care reform. if we're talking about raising the top income tax rate, you know it doesn't affect you, they can't tell you it affects you. everyone knows who it hits and who it doesn't. this is not so complex, you can
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tell almost any story you want. it's the media's job to check this great piece in the "new york times" today who has been on this beat for decades in terms of separating fact from fiction and what's actually in this legislation. that's the kind of thing people have to look for. >> gop insurance agents trying to whip up opposition in advance of the obama town hall on this subject tomorrow. is it -- will it be more respectful because the president is there? or less so? >> we can expect a little more decorum, i expect the president to go an eke anecdotely. that's something that new hampshire citizens are going to listen to. >> we're about to have senator sanders on after you on this same question. when the gop goes to -- essentially has no limits, there is no at the final moment, they have no shame on this. they will turn something as generous as reimbursing you for that end of life conversation. turning it into euthanasia, death panels, they're going to kill my kid. does that not render democratic pursuit of bipartisanship on this issue both politically and patriotically a nonstarter? >> well, you know, you pursue bipartisanship as far as you can. we're stuck in the senate finance committee right now. i used to work there. senate finance committee has a long tradition of bipartisan legislating, also has a tradition of legislating in a single-party way, we did it in 1993 on the biggest tax increase in history. no republican votes. in fact, bob dole said to me one
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day, you will get no republican votes. that's what i call bipartisanship. bob dole was telling me the second most valuable thing he could tell me. if he told me you'd get three republican votes, that'd be nice. he said forget about us, concentrate on your dems. he was very helpful, we did it the way we had to do it. there comes a time when chairman baucus has to say we're taking a vote and that time is somewhere soon after they return on september 15th. >> yeah, as we say at espn, tick, tick, tick. thanks for coming in.
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in fact, bob dole said to me one day, you will get no republican votes. that's what i call bipartisanship. bob dole was telling me the second most valuable thing he could tell me. if he told me you'd get three republican votes, that'd be nice. he told me forget about us. concentrate on your dems. you won't get it with us. he was very helpful. we did did the way we had to do it. there comes a time when chairman baucus has to say we're taking a vote and that time is somewhere soon after they return on september 15th. >> yeah, as we say at espn, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. lawrence o'donnell, thanks for coming in. >> thanks, keith. as promised joining us again bernie sanders, independent of vermont, member of two committees at the heart of health care, budget and health education labor and pensions. thanks again for your time, senator. >> good to be with you, keith. >> anything the government can do for this, the injured town hall protester who doesn't have any insurance? any sort of legislation in the works that might cover this poor man's situation? >> well, there you go, maybe we should join the rest of the industrialized world and make sure that all of our citizens have health care as a right, not leave 46 million uninsured. >> to the issue i just raised with lawrence about
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bipartisanship, mr. boehner in the house picks up on this mccoy/palin lie and warns about a treacherous path about government-encouraged out arabia. how are democrats at best irresponsible at worst unpatriotic for giving that party more say than utterly necessary than they have already in the many amendments in the bills of health care reform? is it time to just cut bait? >> well, i thought if many months now, you really do not have any republican in the senate, very few in the house, who are serious about addressing the health care crisis in this country. 18,000 people a year die because they don't have access to a doctor. 1 million people go bankrupt, costs are soaring. if we do not get a handle on this within ten years, people are going to be paying 50% of their income in health care. and republicans are saying no, no, no. my view is there are 60 members of the democratic caucus,
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senator kennedy is ill, i think you've got 59 of them to line up and say we are going to oppose republican filibusters. you try to get another republican on board and i think we can, and you go forward with something that's strong. the issue is not whether we go forward bipartisan, the issue is are you going to have legislation that addresses the very serious crisis facing the american people, our economy in terms of health care? and i think we've got to stay united in going forward and make it clear to the american people that the republicans are the party of do nothingism, and because of them it is very hard to move forward. >> but you and i and presumably the viewer are seeing this in 9 context you've just described. what would you say, assuming they are not programmed to shout over you when you open your mouth, what would you say to the people who have been showing up at these health care town halls and forums and are repeating lies that they perceive as dire threats?
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their perceptions are sincere even if the information is completely out of line with the truth. but they are saying these things that are fed to them by the sarah palins and the john boehners and glenn becks. how would you answer them that might cut through this fear-supporting mechanism that the republicans have put in place? >> well, this has been a long standing problem with the extreme right wing of the republican party, not all republicans. remember, john kerry quote unquote lied about his war record. we have to go into iraq because saddam hussein has weapons of mass destruction. obama wants to kilt old people. i mean, all these are absolutely irrational. they are horrendous lies. i think the best that we can do is one-on-one explain to working families all over this country that if we do not get our act together in terms of health care, if we don't join the rest of the world in guaranteeing health care to all people, if we don't control costs, it will be devastating not only to people in an individual way, but it'll be devastating to the economy of our country. but bottom line is, i think we do have to cut bait, we have to say to the republicans you want to be the party of obstructionism.
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go for it. we're going to move forward and go for health care of all. >> should the majority of americans who want this health care reform hold out hope that democrats have sort of briar patched republicans into revealing extremism here, or that this is all political theater to set up real reform coming out of the conference committees when the chambers actually meet to resolve differences in the bills? >> well, i think, you know, frankly the democrats have not handled this as clearly and effectively as they might have. but i think the republicans are really backing themselves into a wall and becoming a party increasingly of right wing extremism, which is out of touch with the vast majority of the people. the bottom line here, keith, is almost everybody in america knows that we need to move forward in terms of health care reform. it is unsustainable and to have republicans telling us that we should not do anything makes very little sense, i think, to the average american. >> senator bernie sanders of vermont with us again on this topic. thank you again, sir.
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>> thank you. and now we wait on the one health care town hall which the stakes might be even higher. and so might the warped nature of the protest. it will be in portsmouth in new hampshire tomorrow and it will feature the man as some see as the author of that which is protested but which many of the protesters seem to be really focused on, whether they know it or not, whether they have reached that point organically or not, president obama himself. on the eve that have town hall, it is not the protesters who want not answers but silence who deserve our criticism or wrath, it is their puppeteers. tonight a special comment. (laughing through computer) good night, buddy. good morning, dad. (announcer) oreo. milk's favorite cookie. when a tornado tore through holly, colorado, air life denver took tohe air... their night-vision goggles keeping them safe on a perilous flight...
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it might be just enough to satisfy no one and accomplish nothing. the target, not the creators, not the enablers, nor the long line of officials who could have resigned rather than execute an illegal policy which included water boarding. no, in our fourth story in the "countdown," attorney general eric herald is apparently ready to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate interrogation abuses by those who exceeded what were to begin with wildly unlawful parameters.
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an investigation is all but certain according to unnamed justice officials speaking with the l.a. times, a prosecutor will chosen from a short list. however the inquiry will be narrow, focusing only on the operatives who went beyond authorized techniques. that's only excessive use of waterboarding might be pursued since that technique was authorized by patently indefensible 2002 justice department. other previously undisclosed abuses might be pursued as well like the cia operative who apparently brought a gun into an interrogation room or when a prisoner was threatened with being buried alive. in 2007, a cia contractor used the flashlight to beat an afghan detainee who later died. the only instance thus far resulting in prosecution. a special prosecutor's investigation would not address officials who actually created the policies, and prosecution of low-level offenders could be difficult because of poor evidence and untested legalities. director of human rights watch saying -- let's turn to a lawyer who specializes in armed conflict and human rights and serves as a contributor editor
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at "harper's" magazine scott horton. mr. horton, thanks for your time tonight. >> hi, keith. >> i realize legalities don't often overlap with the known universe. but can anybody seriously try to differentiate between excessive waterboarding and regular type waterboarding? >> no, not at all. in fact, if you've been following this story, you know that these memoranda were not written to give legal advice. they were written as get out of jail free passes. and what holder seems to be doing here is recognizing exactly that function. >> is it -- could we have in the works an archibald cox in the sense that special prosecutors have well been known to go beyond their original mandate, sometimes bizarrely so and in cox' case evened a mirly below? is it possible once unleashed this could lead somewhere worthwhile and maybe even a back door form of prosecution of this is worthwhile? >> that's what we have to hope for here. in fact, the regulations here say that the attorney general will appoint a special prosecutor and will describe the essential facts of an underlying crime. the special prosecutor's supposed to investigate that crime, not specific people. and in this case the crime would
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start with things that went on in an interrogation room, but as congress enacted the anti-torture statute, it's chargeable as a conspiracy. it's not just the people in the room who will be the subject of the investigation. it would include the enablers and that's going to include a large number of senior people at the department of justice as well as at the national security council. so i think a rigorous special prosecutor taking his job seriously would have to look at their conduct, look at the memo writers, look at the decisions taken at the top of that pyramid. >> if you are prosecuting variances from what was thought to be legal at the time, you have to establish what was
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thought to be legal at the time and how we got there. >> that's exactly right. >> it has been reported for quite a while now that this attorney general was reluctant to pursue this at all. we reread a still classified report from the inspector general in 2004. he got other materials and felt he had no choice. if it really turned him around, if it changed his mind because his duty is to follow the law, how could he also ignore those who created the unlawful policy, the overarching issue? how do those two that would seem to be mutually exclusive to a non-lawyer? >> that's exactly correct. it really would not be appropriate. indeed, if we're dealing with a fact situation where the appointment of a special prosecutor is appropriate, then eric holder should get out of the way. he should appoint the special prosecutor, the special prosecutor should study the crime and follow the factual trail wherever it goes. and all of these efforts to put blinders on what the special prosecutor does are really unfortunate and inappropriate. >> scott horton, lawyer and contributing editor to "harp other's" magazine. again, thanks for your time tonight. >> thank you. >> i don't know what this next gentleman is doing, but my intuition is he's doing it
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incorrectly. speaking of which, there's the gang at cluster fox and friends who have decided it's okay to say the speaker of the house called people un-american when she did not. the lies and distortions that make the worst persons in the world possible each and every night ahead. yeah, keep looking at me. i'm talking about you, guys. taking its rightful place in a long line of amazing performance machines. this is the new e-coupe. this is mercedes-benz.
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coming up, a special comment on the town hall protests and the agitators replacing information with fear and discourse with threat. first, 34 years ago today david frost concluded an almost unprecedented series of negotiations with the man who would resign the american presidency just a year and a day earlier. richard nixon charged frost $600,000 for a series of interviews that would not be broadcast for two years. however, despite what the recent exciting movie about the interviews suggest, the cost to anybody trying to watch those interviews or worse yet listened to them on radio stations like mine was far, far higher. they were horribly, painfully, dull. let's play "oddball." i would have rather seen 13 hours of this from india, indian army stunt man has set out to accomplish the impossible.
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attempting to ride a moving motorcycle while standing atop a 15-foot ladder for eight hours in a row. donald rumsfeld there was not impressed. the old record is eight hours but interrupted by short breaks. jatindra said he wanted to set the record to bring glory to his indian army daredevil team, plus he was worried he was losing his cool. i may have that mixed up with that shark episode of "happy days." anyway, he broke the record. congratulations. and bye. to beijing and artist hong chin who does not let anything go to waste after he puts it down. some throw away the hair after it falls on the flow. mr. chin uses it to build sculptures.
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behold the gate of the heavenly peace, the famous building in tiananmen square or as it were here tiananmen air. the edifice was built in honor of the -- had used red dye for some of the walls and also does a brisk walk-in clown business. he has plans to build more communist buildings this year and also collecting dandruff to create a snowy winter scene and i made that last part up. and back to finland for the world's sauna championships. they showed up to sit down. the goal to see how long you can last in 230-degree temperatures. it was an upset on the women's side. the russian tatiana in the blue stole the crown from the home country besting the other opponent with 3:09 and on the men's side at 3:46, former pro wrestler rick flair. no, he didn't charge taxpayers for his trips with that hazy lazy like kind of crazy like south american way, but the domestic vacations for the senator, you bet. and you have screamed fire in the crowded theater, governor, the follow-up shout of i may have been mistaken is not usually heard. the culpability of sarah palin and others like her for the misinformation hoisted upon the protesters at the health care reform town has.
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a special comment ahead here on "countdown."
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he once boasted about sleeping on an office cot to save money. he's criticized other state officials for their travel expenses. "time" magazine reports him so thrifty he wanted employees to use both sides of a post-it before throwing it away. our third story in the countdown south carolina mark sanford has the state pick up the tab for his out-of-town trips, the non-appalachian trail hiking kind to attend political events to get his hair cut, to attend his kids' soccer game. wait a minute, to get his haircut? the associated press reporting mr. sanford's use of state planes for personal and political trips a direct conflict with south carolina law. a few examples, march 2005, he flew a state plane from colombia to his beach house where the governor had an appointment to see a dentist. in march of the following year, another state plane shuttled him
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from myrtle beach back for personal time for a haircut at his favorite discount hair salon. the guy from tiananmen square, thrifty, indeed. five out of the last six thanksgivings, they used state aircraft to fly from the plantation to the lighting of the christmas tree. the governor's soaksman says the report is, quote, cherry picking, and it's not reflective of everything that he's necessarily doing on a given day. well, we know that. meanwhile the chairman of the state legislative committee investigating the governor's international trip says stanford broke the law, charging the state for commercial business class flights when state law dictates to travel economy if possible. but as senator lindsey graham signatured back in june, mr. sanford's record as governor should not be judged on how he conducts state business, instead of how he handles things with the mrs. >> i think if mark can reconcile with jenny, and that's not going to be easy, that he can finish his last 18 months, he's had a
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good reform agenda, and i do believe that if he can reconcile with his family and if he's willing to try, that the people of south carolina would be willing to give him a second chance. >> jenny is your nickname for all of the voters of the state, forget it. on friday, jenny moved out of the governor's mansion. she and the kids will now reside at the family's ocean front cottage for the duration of the school year no doubt to get closer to the governor's barber. >> about an ex-governor. when sarah palin dials back her own rhetoric, you know how sane it was. death panels you say? too late, we say. special comment ahead. and the man who now devotes half his air time to comparing the current information to nazis pauses briefly to blame the speaker of the house for mentioning the swastikas. worst persons ahead. and authorities are alarmed at the number of jailhouse visitors coming to see the accused assassin of dr. george tiller scott roeder.
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non-stop comparison of obama to hitler to claim he's never compared obama to hitler. worse personses next and then a special comment. the protest, at a town halls are taking the heat. the liars, the political conmen, the insurance company-funded frauds behind them get their heat tonight. some lunch. you hungry? yeah. me too. (door crashes in) (broadview alarm)
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(gasp and scream) go! go! go! go! go! go! (phone rings) hello? this is mark with broadview security. is everything okay? no. someone just tried to break in. i'm sending help right now. thank you. (announcer) brink's home security is now broadview security. call now to install the standard system for just $99. the proven technology of a broadview security system delivers rapid response from highly trained professionals, 24 hours a day. call now to get the $99 installation, plus a second keypad installed free. and, you could save up to 20% on your homeowner's insurance. call now - and get the system installed for just $99. broadview security for your home or business - the next generation of brink's home security. call now. the protests at the health care reform town hall seem without reason to you, seem irrational, they are not. they are the logical outcome of people fearful, easily led, being told it is not health care reform, but mandatory abortions and access to their checking
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accounts and death panels. a special comment of the real villains of those town halls next. but first i've got the number two story, worst persons in the world. matsumoto, a office worker in japan, he was a little late today and needed an excuse for his boss, so he pushed the emergency stop button at a railroad crossing in kyoto, japan, delaying the train for four minutes and the ones behind it for similar amounts of time. his job. he works in the railroad office. he commutes there by train. police think he might be responsible for six other times that somebody has pressed the emergency button and police arrested him. the amount of time he was late for four hours. runners-up tonight, fox and friends, on what else? is town halls and the op ed today by speaker pelosi and congressman hoyer. un-american, i thought that was all part of the debate. doocey, what they write is these disruptions are because opponents are afraid of differing views about of the
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facts themselves. they're drowning out opposing views and that is simply un-american unquote. of course, that is not what they wrote. they didn't write they are simply un-american as in opponents of reform, they wrote drowning out opposing views is simply un-american. drowning out opposing views or supporting views. you know why they have three hosts on cluster fox and friends? so if one of them starts to think or go off the talking points, the other two can smother them before the viewers notices. by our winner the host boss limbaugh of the new let's compare everybody to hitler radio show. actually he's saying he never compared obama to hitler or the government to the nazis. he didn't start it. the speaker of the house of representatives third in line in the presidency accused americans of town hall meetings of being nazi sympathizers when she started it. i pushed back twice as hard anybody have a problem with that? yes, everybody does because nancy pelosi didn't say that
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either. she complained that swastikas and similar symbols were being carried to these town hall meetings by whomever for whatever purpose. she never said americans at town hall meetings were like nazi sympathizers. limbaugh compared it to government health care. compared the logo to the swastika and said the regimes were similar because hitler had a labor czar and obama had a corporate bailout czar. so who started comparing whom to the nazi sympathizers? donald rumsfeld, salt lake city, 2006. boss limbaugh, you must remember don rumsfeld? today's worst person in the world.
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finally as promised a special comment on this terrible moment in american history and those unfortunate and irresponsible americans. who have brought us is to it. the america i know and love, the quitter governor of alaskan governor sarah palin began is not one in which my baby or parents with downs syndrome will
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have to stand in front of obama's death panel so his bureaucrats can decide based on a subjective judgment of their level of productivity in society whether they are worthy of health care. such a system is downright evil. of course it is, ms. palin. that's why it has not existed and under this president or any other president will ever exist. there is no judgment based on societal productivity. there is no worthiness test, but there is downright evil, and ms. palin, you just served its cause. you shouted fire in a crowded theater, a hot theater, and today tried to roll it back with no, no, no, fire, i mean the flashlights. too little, too late, too obvious. madame, you are a clear and present danger to the safety and security of this nation. whether the death panel is something you dreamed or dreamed up. whether it is a product of a low intellect and a fevered imagination, or the product of a high intelligence and a sober ability to exploit people, you should be ashamed of yourself for having introduced it to the public discourse. and it should debar you for all time from any position of responsibility or trust in the
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governance of this nation or any of its states or municipalities, but it will not because the percentage of america does not want explanations nor serious conversation. it wants panic and the guilty thrill of chaos and an excuse to bash skulls and hang people in effigy, or not in effigy. ms. palin, what in spirit is the difference between this monstrous image of a congressman hanged in effigy? and the indefensible smile of pride on that idiot's face and this image with not one murderer in the mob even feeling the need to hide his face for fear of justice that would never come. they're both to use your phrase death panels. ms. palin, you might as well have declared that the government is being run by a coven of witches with fake kenyan birth certificates, and you might have told the vast unthinking throng that mistakes your ability to wink for leadership that they should start shooting at democrats. there'd be no need to tell them to bring the guns, others have already done that. somebody left his at an arizona town hall. and incidentally, you have forfeited your right to be taken
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seriously. the next time you claim offense of somebody mentioning your children, you have just exploited your youngest child, dangled him in front of a mindless mob as surely as if you were michael jackson. you have used this innocent infant as an excuse to pander to the worst and the least of us in this nation. you have used him to create the false image of death panels. the only death panels, ms. palin, are the figurative ones you have inspired with irresponsible dangerous, vile hate speech. the death of common sense, the death of logic, the death, perhaps, of democracy at the hands of mob rule. if someone is hurt at one of
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these town halls, pro reform, anti-reform, or most likely as these things tend to play out in the real life you know so little about, ms. palin, if the hurt befalls an innocent bystander you will have contributed to that harm. you might very well become the very thing you sought to create in the lurid imaginations of those spoiling for a fight, looking for an excuse, waiting for a rationalization of their own hatred, racism and unwillingness to accept democracy. you, ms. palin, may yet become the de facto chairman of a death panel. your higher calling, ms. palin. god forgive you, ms. palin. it is hardly all sarah palin, she is a relative newcomer whose fires have been stoked for weeks, for months, for years by conservatives, but more often by mere mercenaries, men and women who believe nothing, who are in it for the game or the profit or the sheer kick of bending masses to their will. glenn beck who recoils when somebody readies for an attack on one of the fema internment
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camps he so cavalierly invented, who cowers at the thought he might get blamed or lose some of his precious and well-earned gold and actually has to plead with his viewers not to become new timothy mcveighs. glenn beck says that, and then comes back three days later and jokes about poisoning the speaker of the house. it is irresistible to you, isn't it? it's the same thrill of irresponsibility, of cave man thought of the drug addict who suddenly and joyously cares nothing about self-restraint. sobered momentarily into realizings the prospective outline of the horrible shape at the horizon, soldiers wounded, shooter says she was liberating fema camps as she saw glenn beck tell her to rise up and fight back, awakened to the idea that words you say on television have consequences which you cannot necessarily control.
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you plead, you almost cry for non-violence. and yet within 72 hours, the thrill again rises up in your blood and you cannot resist it. you must fantasize about murder, and by the very action of speaking you enable others to join you in this ritual of violence to overcome the enemy. whether the enemy is real or imagined or whether the enemy really isn't an enemy at all and is just your neighbor with a different point of view who wants to talk about it, wants to involve you in the decision even though it is his turn to steer and not yours and you both know some day our system will give you another turn to steer. but ranting and crying and playing with toys on television does not work if you are advocating compromise and dialogue and thought. it works only for a mount, making the magic and power with the underlying threat of carnage and chaos. and now you add you believe death panels are real, an idea so insane, which main lines so directly back to the mercenary fantasies of the pathetic betsy
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mccoy that even sarah palin backed quickly away from them. what a scare tactic. the big lie in the flesh. your dream come true. which is probably why, mr. beck, we have not lately heard much of your nine twelve groups. because there you had the germ of an idea, exploitative perhaps but at its core, beneficial, unifying, thoughtful, calming, restore the sense of september 12th, 2001, not of dread or threat, but of collaboration, meeting in the middle somewhere, standing together under one flag and trying to improve the conditions of all americans. and then somebody from your nine twelve group told the members they should go to the health care reform town hall in tampa and break it up and shout down anyone who disagreed with them and scuffle with the police and demand not discourse, but disaster. your work, mr. beck, your contribution to this. god forgive you. there are other instigators in the land, all of them untrue believers, men intelligent enough to work their way up into the senate of this nation and yet suddenly foolish enough or suddenly opportunistic enough
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like mr. cornyn of texas to float conspiracy theories about the white house using health care reform to try to compile an enemy's list one e-mail address at a time. when four years ago this same senator was saying the previous white house pernicious, warrantless, illegal consumption of everybody's e-mail address and everybody's e-mail and everybody's websites, that was defensible and justifiable because, quote, none of your civil liberties matter much after you're dead. and now pushing is mr. cornyn the supposedly independent analysis of the proposed health care reform by the lewin group that 119 million people would have to change their insurance. mr. cornyn not knowing or being paid not to know that the lewin group is wholly owned by an insurance company the way the lewin group gave mr. boehner and mr. cantor $60,000 apiece. wholly owned. then there are the birthers laughable from the moment they opened their mouths, a conspiracy that somehow began with the placement of birth
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notices in two hawaiian newspapers 48 years ago this month. but people who do not want this president to be president will believe anything. and that is meat for fading commentators like lou dobbs whatever he actually believes because the bitter movement touches another part of the defective soul, the need for an excuse for they need to convince themselves in an immense conspiracy and place that conviction as a barrier between their actions and the sad reality that they are not the victims of intricate machinations against freedom but they are just garden variety ordinary racists, that they can handle the most limited of integration only in theory. they will take anything that will let them pretend that when they burst into tears and cry they want their america back. they're not asking for white power, not asking somebody make the black man in the white house go away. there are other instigators, of course, so obvious, so careless, knowing so well that anybody who desperately wants to believe
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lies will not even notice the truth standing next to them wearing a big red neon sign. like the just a mom from a few blocks away who didn't think anybody might google her name and find out she was really the ex-vice chairman of the county gop and part of the campaign of the republican who lost to the democrat whose town hall she was at that moment helping to disrupt. or like the smooth-talking hospital corporate titan spreading millions around to enable the hate knowing that none of the haters will ever realize nor care that they have become prostitutes for the health care industries. like the people who propagated this widely cut and pasted quote line by line analysis of the health care reform act, one that saves right-wingers the trouble of actually reading the bill or thinking about it. this is where the fictions come from. that this is funding a.c.o.r.n., that it guarantees free health care for illegal immigrants, that it mandates abortions, demands euthanasia. if you read it without knowing the truth, you might shove the right-wingers out of the way and
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start screaming yourself. it seems to have been created by the liberty council, an offshoot of the liberty university. a council whose other big policy concern has been the attack on christmas. maybe there's the most brazen of them all, the man at the town hall in connecticut wearing the we don't want government-run health care sign above his head while wearing his anthem blue cross and blue shield shirt. you might think it was because he was too stupid to wear something less corporately slavish. but given what those around him have read they not only wouldn't care but they might even take comfort from that logo that they could boast and they could hate under the actual auspices of a ruthless insurance company. my words, of course, are nothing to mr. anthem or mr. cornyn, mr. dobbs, mr. scott, or the others. this is a job to them. and since we have placed a price tag on everything in this country, there is no soul searching involved. you have a job, if it involves stirring up frightened people to defend the corporation against the citizen, well, you have a salary to earn and a family to feed. the same rationalization that
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enables mob hit men to sleep at night. but somewhere in those crowds are generally angry and scared people. people who listen to cornyn or dobbs or fantasize with beck about poisoning their way to a democrat-free world or who salivate like pavlovian does about the whistle from sarah "death panel" palin. somewhere in those crowds are actual people with actual brains still working and thinking and evaluating. for god sakes, trust your instinct to think. there are no death panels. there could never be. were there any steps taken toward them i and 99.9% of the people in this country from the fiercest liberal to the apolitical blob would be standing next to you to stop their creation. there are no plans to take your insurance away from you. there will be no rationing of care. there will be no health choices commissioner, and he will not be able to transfer money electronical o

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